Koko, as usual, was up first, and insistent that I join her, which this morning was a good thing, as I soon heard the garbage truck and remembered I hadn’t taken my can, piled high with guinea grass I’d dug out of the yard, to the curb.
I got it there just in time to see it disappear into the back of a truck already filled with other people’s castoffs, which made me think of a friend, whose mother recently died, and how the family needed several dumpsters to cart away the things that no one wanted, not even a charitable organization. And I was struck, and still am, by the realization that in America, we each leave such a huge legacy of trash.
Others, of course, leave a different sort of trashy legacy, like former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is being sued by two Americans for developing, authorizing and using torture techniques in Iraq. A federal appeals court has refused to dismiss the lawsuit. As Democracy Now! reports:
Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel were working for a private U.S. government contractor, Shield Group Security, in 2006 when they witnessed the sale of U.S. government weapons to Iraqi rebel groups for money and alcohol. After they became FBI informants and collaborated with an investigation into their employer, the company revoked their credentials for entering Iraq’s so-called Green Zone, effectively barring them from the safest part of the country. Shortly afterward, they were arrested and detained by U.S. troops, moved to the U.S.-run prison at Camp Cropper, and subjected to extreme sleep deprivation, interrogated for hours at a time, kept in a very cold cell, and denied food and water for long periods. They were eventually released and never charged with a crime.
Their case offered an extreme example of a story reported in Wired about the unhealthy impact of hostile co-workers, as assessed by a new study:
In particular, the risk of death seemed to be correlated with the perceived niceness of co-workers, as less friendly colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying. (What’s troubling is that such workplaces seem incredibly common.)
While this correlation might not be surprising – friendly people help reduce stress, and stress is deadly – the magnitude of the “friendly colleague effect” is a bit unsettling: people with little or no “peer social support” in the workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study, especially if they began the study between the ages of 38 and 43. In contrast, the niceness of the boss had little impact on mortality.
One interesting factor influencing the correlation between peer social support and mortality was the perception of control. This makes sense: the only thing worse than an office full of assholes is an office full of assholes telling us what to do.
Moving on to other, though not unrelated, matters, I heard a member of the KIUC board say that the furor over the FERC-hydro process was due to “a rumor. It was all based on rumor.”
I could only think, OMG, is that what you took away from it? Can you really be that clueless? And are your views shared by the rest of the Board? Because it becomes so easy to just blow off membership concerns when you think they’re full of shit.